Leading Off

New Giants season means new left fielder

San Francisco Giants’ Nori Aoki (23) runs during spring training baseball practice Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
San Francisco Giants’ Nori Aoki (23) runs during spring training baseball practice Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP

First up was Dave Roberts in 2008.

Then came Fred Lewis in 2009, Mark DeRosa in 2010 and Pat Burrell in 2011.

Aubrey Huff got the last-minute nod in 2012, followed by Andres Torres in 2013 and finally Michael Morse in 2014.

Monday against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, Giants fans can expect to see offseason free-agent acquisition Nori Aoki become the eighth different player to start in left field for San Francisco on Opening Day since Barry Bonds left the team after the 2007 season.

But before we go any further, Giants fans should first learn how to say his name correctly. While it looks like nor-EE, Aoki’s first name is pronounced nor-EETCH-kuh.

And if Aoki looks familiar, he should.

He played for the Kansas City Royals last year, starting in six World Series games against the Giants. If you can’t recall the Japanese-born player having an impact, it’s because he had none.

In 16 at-bats against the Giants, Aoki had one hit. In fact, he only had eight hits in 41 at-bats (.195 batting average) for the American League champion Royals.

In 132 games last season for Kansas City, Aoki hit .285 with one home run and 43 RBIs. Not exactly the 16 home runs and 61 RBIs produced by Michael Morse, last season’s left fielder for the Giants.

But he’s only here for a season, right?

With Aoki signed for just one season with a team option for 2016, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will be the ninth player to start in left field on Opening Day in 2016.

Victor Contreras

vcontreras@sacbee.com


What to watch I

Soccer, United States at Switzerland, 9 a.m., FS1: The Americans have made it a habit to blow leads while losing four of their past five matches heading into today’s friendly in Zurich.


What to watch II

NBA, Warriors at L.A. Clippers, 7:30 p.m., TNT: The North vs. South rivalry seems to get more heated as the playoffs approach.


On this date

1986: Freshman center Pervis Ellison hits two free throws with 27 seconds left to seal Louisville’s 72-69 victory over Duke in the NCAA Tournament final. Ellison was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tourney.

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